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Toby Wells is officially city manager
Full-time overseer at $150,000
Toby Wells was appointed by the Ceres City Council as a full-time city manager on Monday. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier file photo

Toby Wells was officially made City Manager of Ceres on Monday with a $150,000 annual salary.

Wells had been serving as acting city manager since March 17 when Public Safety Director Art deWerk was replaced. Wells will continue to serve as the Public Works Director and city engineer "until an appropriate reorganization and/or hiring of persons to fill those positions is completed," said City Attorney Mike Lyions.

Wells had previously told the council that "doing all three jobs, it's not likely that I'm going to do any one of those three perfectly as well as I'd like to."

Mayor Chris Vierra and Wells hammered out a labor contract that calls for a six-month severance package, $500 per month car allowance, $50 per month cell phone allowance, and life insurance policy equal to his annual salary. His benefits include 12 days of sick leave each year, and can convert up to 40 hours of unused sick leave to pay for each year. Wells is earning 15 days of vacation annually and can cash out up to 60 hours of unused vacation leave. The contract gives Wells $1,218 toward monthly health insurance plan, Wells is not seeking retroactive pay to March 17 when he took on the role as city manager.

Vierra said the contract was "fair and reasonable" given that the compensation was less than what was paid to Brad Kilger, the last full-time city manager. The mayor said the package is "in par with where Mr. deWerk was."

Councilmember Linda Ryno said the agreement was "more than fair given what his duties will be and what are current other department heads are making." But she said she wanted Wells' $150,000 salary to reflect a five percent concession similar to the ones taken by all city employees. To clarify, Councilmember Mike Kline asked if she desired making the salary $157,500 and bringing it down to $150,000. Ryno said "that's correct." Kline and councilmembers Ken Lane and Bret Durossette said they didn't see the need.

Ryno's concept prompted sharp remarks from Ceres resident Leonard Shepherd who said "don't play word games; don't make it look like he gave a concession of five percent because he didn't."